Resilience factors of combat soldiers returning to college
Zimmermann, Anthony Michael
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The present study investigated the risk and resiliency factors of combat warriors who matriculate into higher learning institutions after military service. The study explores specific variables that influence risk and resilience from a Positive Psychology standpoint. One hundred and eleven participants from across the country were administered the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory, the Combat Exposure Scale, and the Human Spirituality Survey. The results obtained in this survey suggest that levels of PTSD are high among matriculating warriors. The majority of participants had more than one deployment ( X = 2.17, SD = 1.48), had spent more than a year and a half deployed ( X = 1.69, SD = 1.11), and 59% had never fired their weapon in combat. This is a stark change from previous findings, suggesting that as the conflict has progressed, the nature of military warriors has changed. Many expected differences in combat exposure, unit social support, and harassment due to branch or job specialty were found. Unexpectedly, limited combat exposure in both Air Force and Navy personnel did not protect against higher levels of PTSD. Warriors showed very low levels of spirituality, and there was a non-significant trend to suggest spirituality as a resilience factor against PTSD.